Camp, 15th January 2024: In an unusual turn of events, it’s not just ordinary residents of the cantonment but also government entities, including the Public Works Department (PWD) and various state government offices, that have defaulted on property tax payments to the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) for the past three years.
The list of government defaulters is extensive, encompassing key properties such as the police commissioner’s bungalow, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief’s residence, collector’s residence, cantonment police station along with its four chowkis, Divisional Commissioner’s bungalow, Meter House for Khadki water supply, telecommunications department, post and air department, TDS building, and other PWD-managed properties. Collectively, these entities owe over Rs 79.75 crores to the cantonment board.
Most of these properties are situated on B2 land, with a few on B1 land. The property tax has been calculated following the guidelines of the Defence Estates Office and central government rules.
The PCB administration reveals that prominent defaults include Rs 9.63 crores against the Pune Police Commissioner’s bungalow, Rs 2.39 crores against the CID chief’s residence, Rs 2.46 crores against the district collector’s bungalow, and Rs 18.27 crores against the PWD Empress Garden property. The PCB has identified 31 state government properties as defaulters in property tax payments.
PCB Chief Executive Officer Subrat Pal stated, “We have issued notices and reminders to the occupants and the PWD office for non-payment of dues, urging them to settle their property tax obligations promptly. Despite our repeated efforts with state government authorities, the arrears are yet to be realized. We will escalate the matter as it adversely affects the board’s revenue.”
PWD Executive Engineer Atul Chavan clarified, “The property tax dues are paid by the government directly, constituting a government-to-government transaction. The outstanding dues have not been settled due to the non-arrival of state government grants.”
Since 2017, the PCB has grappled with a severe financial crisis stemming from the non-payment of GST dues worth Rs 600 crores by the state government. To alleviate the precarious financial situation, the Pune Cantonment Board is contemplating leasing two prime properties – Golibar Maidan and Dhobi Ghat – on a 99-year lease basis.